How To Article

How to Get WhatsApp API: A Guide to WhatsApp API Integration [Feb 2024]

Román Filgueira
December 8, 2023

Wondering how to get WhatsApp Business API? You are in the right place. Even though jumping into a WhatsApp API integration can feel daunting, it’s actually not hard at all if you follow the proper guidelines. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to get WhatsApp API for your business quickly and hassle-free. Plus, we’ll help you figure out the next steps after getting a WhatsApp Business API integration.

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WhatsApp API Integration: An Introduction

50 million businesses use WhatsApp Business to connect with their customers, making it a powerful platform for business communication. Let’s start with the key details to tap into the vast network and advantages of the WhatsApp Business API.

WhatsApp Business API – also known as WhatsApp Business Platform – is a solution for companies that want multiple-user access to the platform and improved capabilities for messaging at scale. Unlike the WhatsApp Business App, it provides advanced features for more complex business needs.

WhatsApp Business API – also known as WhatsApp Business Platform – is a solution for companies that want multiple-user access to the platform and improved capabilities for messaging at scale. It offers advanced features businesses won’t find on the WhatsApp Business App.
WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API: A comparison

For instance, WhatsApp API doesn't impose a broadcast limit of 256 contacts at a time. Plus, it integrates with your software stack, such as messaging platforms, CRMs and automation builders.

You might be wondering, is WhatsApp API free? The answer is no. These are the costs businesses must pay for:

Here’s another important benefit: You can integrate WhatsApp Business API with your current messaging inbox or customer conversation software. This lets you centralize customer data and conversations and perform tasks using advanced automation.

This image shows what to know before getting WhatsApp Business API access. WhatsApp integration API has costs costs involved such as conversation fees, phone number and messaging inbox. In addition, you'll need to abide by WhatsApp Business and Commerce policies to send WhatsApp API messages.
Things to keep in mind before applying for an account

So, can just any business get WhatsApp API? Not quite. Before application, businesses must ensure they are eligible under the WhatsApp Commerce Policy. For instance, WhatsApp doesn’t allow medical and healthcare products to be sold on the platform.

The application process used to be more complicated and could take up to several weeks. Now, businesses can get an account and start messaging in less than 10 minutes. Let’s go through the changes Meta has implemented to make it more convenient for everyone.

WhatsApp API Integration in 2024: How Easy Is It?

First, you should know Facebook Business verification is no longer compulsory for all businesses. In fact, it’s only required for companies seeking to have more business-initiated conversations or to become an Official Business Account.

Similarly, WhatsApp Policy compliance and the display name review are no longer required for businesses to start messaging. Now, the WhatsApp Policy compliance check is triggered automatically in the background during the sign-up process. In like manner, the display name review is only initiated after Facebook Business verification.

This image shows the changes implemented by Meta on how to get WhatsApp for Business API. WhatsApp API purchase was a more complicated process in the past. Now, you can complete your WhatsApp integration API in minutes.
How to get WhatsApp for Business API: Applying for an account then versus now

After these changes, getting an account has never been easier. However, some application methods are more convenient than others. Make sure you choose the best one to get your account quickly without unnecessary costs and headaches.

WhatsApp API Integration: What is the Best Method?

In this section, we will introduce you to the different methods of getting a WhatsApp API account. We’ll also guide you through the cheapest and fastest way to apply for one.

How to Get WhatsApp Business API: Cloud API vs On-Premises API

Those looking to use WhatsApp Business API have two hosting options:

  • WhatsApp Cloud API is hosted on Meta’s cloud servers using its own infrastructure. By doing so, developers can use WhatsApp's messaging capabilities and storage resources through a secure and scalable API.
  • WhatsApp On-premises API is hosted on a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) or a company's own servers or data center. Consequently, they become responsible for control and security over their messaging platform. WhatsApp outsources the API application process to avoid the need to hire additional resources.

Benefits of On-Premises API

On top of the costs mentioned earlier in this blog, hosting On-premises involves WhatsApp Partner-specific costs. These may include set-up fees, hosting fees and even message markups.

Despite being costly, this option is sometimes a suitable choice for businesses needing extra support during the application process. It also works for businesses that prefer to host their account themselves or leave it to a BSP.

This image shows how to create WhatsApp API account with two different methods: You can integrate WhatsApp API via Cloud API or on-premises API.
Two integration methods: Cloud API vs On-premises API

Benefits of Cloud API

On the other hand, WhatsApp Cloud API allows businesses to apply for an account directly through Meta or a BSP like respond.io, eliminating the need for a middleman.

This option comes with a number of benefits. As Meta is responsible for all infrastructure maintenance and development, businesses can have immediate access to WhatsApp updates or new features. For the same reason, slow performance issues and failed messages are less common.

Most importantly, this choice is generally cheaper than the On-premises API, as Meta does not charge any hosting or set-up fees. Businesses only pay for their messaging inbox and WhatsApp conversation charges.

If your plan is to get WhatsApp Cloud API directly through Meta, keep in mind that businesses must complete the application process themselves and will need some technical knowledge and a Facebook Developer account.

So, is there a cost-efficient WhatsApp solution that is also easy to set up? The answer is yes.

How to Get WhatsApp API with respond.io

Respond.io is an official WhatsApp BSP that uses the cloud-hosted version of WhatsApp API. The application process does not involve any setup, hosting or additional message charges. These are the costs to expect:

  • A respond.io plan
  • A phone number for the WhatsApp Business account
  • WhatsApp’s conversation-based pricing charges
This image shows the benefits of doing WhatsApp integration API through respond.io. Respond.io is an official API whatsapp BSP that uses the cloud-hosted version of WhatsApp API.
Four reasons to choose respond.io as a BSP

Costs aside, respond.io WhatsApp Business API comes with a number of benefits compared to other cloud and BSP-hosted options, including:

  • WhatsApp Business Account Management: Manage your WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) effortlessly on respond.io. Additionally, create and submit message templates for approval and oversee your WABA balance through the specialized WhatsApp Fees Module.
  • Badged Meta Business Partner Recognition: Respond.io has undergone Meta's assessment for proficiency in Meta products like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram DM.
  • Enhanced Support: As a Meta Business Partner, respond.io receives enhanced support from Meta. This contributes to an elevated level of service for respond.io users.

So, what are the steps to get WhatsApp API integration done through respond.io? We will guide you through the whole process in the next section.

WhatsApp API Integration the Easy Way: How to Get WhatsApp API Account with respond.io

To get started, sign up for a respond.io account. You can try respond.io for free and later subscribe to a plan that suits your business needs. While applying for a WhatsApp Business API account is often perceived as challenging, respond.io has made things simple for businesses.

There are four steps in getting a WhatsApp API Account.

  1. Port or buy a phone number
  2. Connect your Facebook account
  3. Connect your WhatsApp Business API account
  4. Verify your WhatsApp Business phone number

Let’s explore these steps in greater detail.

Step 1: Port or Buy a Phone Number

You need a phone number to set up your WhatsApp Business API account. You may port an existing phone number as long as you can receive calls or SMS. Just make sure that it is not connected to any WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business App or WhatsApp API accounts.

To use a phone number tied to an existing WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business App account, you’ll first have to delete that account.

<call-out>Using a phone number tied to an existing WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business App account will result in a permanent loss of existing contacts and messages.<call-out>

Step 2: Connect Your Facebook Account

Once you have a phone number and a respond.io account, it’s time to set up respond.io WhatsApp API integration. Click this link and select Create and connect a NEW WhatsApp Business Platform (API) account. Then, click Get Started.

This image shows the second step on how to make WhatsApp API integration: Connect a new WhatsApp Business Platform
Connect a new WhatsApp Business API account

Go through the eligibility checks and click the Connect with Facebook button as you’ll need to log into your Facebook account to proceed.

This image shows what happened once you through the eligibility checks and click the Connect with Facebook button. You’ll need to log into your Facebook account to proceed.
Connect with Facebook

Click Get Started to connect your WhatsApp Business API account to respond.io.

This image shows how you must click Get Started to connect your WhatsApp Business API account to respond.io.
Connect your account to respond.io

Doing so will give respond.io permission to manage your WhatsApp Business account and handle billing. This also means you agree to the WhatsApp Business Terms of Service and the Meta Terms of Service.

Step 3: Connect Your WhatsApp Business API Account to respond.io

Select your verified Meta business account. If you don’t have one yet, choose Create a business account and follow the instructions. If you are porting a WhatsApp number from one WhatsApp Business Account to another, select an existing business account.

This image shows how to select your verified Meta business account. If you don’t have one yet, choose Create a business account and follow the instructions.
Select your verified Meta business account

Once done, choose Create a new WhatsApp Business profile and click Next. To create it, first provide all the necessary details about your business: A name for your WhatsApp Business account, a display name, a business category and your timezone. Business description and website are optional.

This image shows how to Create a new WhatsApp Business profile
Create a new WhatsApp business profile

You are almost there! Now, all that's left is to verify your WhatsApp Business phone number. It’s pretty simple if you follow the instructions below.

Step 4: Verify your WhatsApp Business Phone Number

Add your WhatsApp Business phone number and choose a verification method. You can verify your phone number via text message or phone call, so ensure you have access to the number you used. Once you receive the verification code, enter it on the blank boxes and click Next.

This image shows how to add your WhatsApp Business phone number and choose a verification method.
Verify your phone number

Once your phone number is verified, click Finish. Finally, select the phone number you want to connect to and click Complete to finish the setup. And that’s it; you have successfully completed the signup process!

This image shows how to select the phone number you want to connect to respond.io
Select the phone number you want to connect

After completing your WhatsApp Business API integration, your business will get the unverified status. During this time, the WhatsApp Commerce Policy check will be automatically conducted in the background.

WhatsApp immediately blocks accounts that don’t comply with its policies. You can appeal this by submitting a support ticket to your BSP. If you need more help during the process, consult respond.io’s Help Center.

<call-out>Remember to top up your account balance on respond.io, as WhatsApp charges conversation fees for initiating new conversations or sending broadcasts.<call-out>

What to Do Next?

As an unverified business, you will be on the Limited Access Tier where you are limited to 250 business-initiated conversations in a rolling 24-hour period. This is problematic for companies that send a large number of business-initiated conversations.

For that reason, if you intend to broadcast WhatsApp messages to a large audience, verify your business to upgrade to Tier 1, where you would be able to start business-initiated conversations with 1,000 unique customers in a rolling 24-hour period.

If that’s still not enough, don’t worry. Messaging limits can be expanded or even removed to meet the needs of larger businesses and enterprises.

After completing the Facebook Business verification process, WhatsApp will review the display names of all phone numbers associated with your account. For a successful verification, make sure that your business display name does not violate either the WhatsApp Business and Commerce Policies or the display name guidelines.

In addition, it might be worth learning the tips and tricks to have free conversations on WhatsApp API by getting customers to message you through free entry points.

We’ve covered everything you need to know to get started with respond.io WhatsApp Business API. To wrap this up, we’ll guide you through some key points that make respond.io the leading AI messaging platform.

Why Choose respond.io as your WhatsApp Business API Inbox

Respond.io sets itself apart from other Business Solution Providers by being fundamentally designed for instant messaging rather than traditional channels. This focus makes its system more effective and lets it quickly update with the latest instant messaging features.

As you’ll require a messaging inbox to send and receive messages, we recommend choosing a feature-rich one. Here are some of the things respond.io offers:

This image shows how respond.io, to complement its core focus, offers a comprehensive set of features: Omnichannel inbox, conversational AI, automation builder and a reports module.
Four reasons to choose respond.io as a WhatsApp Business Solution provider

The results speak for themselves, and who better to tell the story than respond.io's customers? After switching to respond.io, Sleek gained 3x more qualified leads over WhatsApp. Sharwa, on its side, increased conversion rates on WhatsApp by 40%.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is WhatsApp API free to use?

No, it’s not. You’ll need to pay WhatsApp’s conversation-based pricing charges and utilize a WhatsApp messaging inbox, with costs involved.

Do I need a WhatsApp API key to get WhatsApp API?

No, you don’t need it if you apply for respond.io WhatsApp Business API. To learn more about all the prerequisites, visit our Help Center.

Can I get WhatsApp API for personal use?

While you technically could, it is a solution designed for medium and large-sized businesses. For personal use, the WhatsApp app is your best choice.

WhatsApp Business API is easily accessible and cost-effective if you apply through respond.io. Are you ready to market, sell and support at scale on WhatsApp? Try respond.io for free and get WhatsApp API today.

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Further Reading

Did you find this article helpful? If so, here are some readings that might interest you.

Román Filgueira
Content Writer
Román Filgueira, a University of Vigo graduate holding a Bachelor's in Foreign Languages, joined the respond.io team as a Content Writer in 2021. Román offers expert insights on best practices for using messaging apps to drive business growth.
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